(WAUSEON, OH) The Office of the Fulton County Engineer has been busy wrapping up summer projects and preparing for the upcoming winter months. In that, they have recently entered into a contract with North American Salt for road salt for the upcoming winter season. This year’s contracted rate of $95.50 (per ton) is up 53% over the previous year.
“It’s been a tough bidding and negotiation process this year,” states Frank Onweller, Fulton County Engineer, “Salt is at a premium due to the high usage from last year’s winter.” Onweller notes that they have approximately 1,000 tons in storage and expect to purchase 1,200 to 1,400 tons this winter.
“Rates fluctuate every year, but this year is one of the most significant increases we’ve seen since 1997. I’ve been in communication with other CountyEngineer’s Offices throughout the State, and most seem to be dealing with these higher prices as well. In some counties, they are unable to even get a salt supplier to quote them a price so they are still searching for salt.”
With the exception of the previous year (2013-14), the Fulton County Highway Department used on average 1,000 tons of salt over the past 10 winters. There is, however, no way to predict the upcoming winter precipitation. “Safety for the public has always been and will remain our top priority in relation to road safety. We will have to navigate a fine balance on how and when we spread the salt without jeopardizing public safety,” states Onweller.
Although the chance of wintry weather is still a couple of months away, Onweller reminds the public to “take it slow on the ice and snow.” “Leave for your destination early, and drive well below the speed limit. Give our snowplows extra room to navigate. They aren’t able to drive as fast as the posted speed limit and their vision is restricted. You are able to see them, but they may not be able to see you.” For helpful information and tips on driving in ice and snow, visit the Ohio Department of Transportation’s website at www.dot.state.oh.us.
How does the County pay for this? Onweller said that the cost for the winter snow and ice control operations, like all other operational costs and expenditures in the County Engineer’s Office and Highway Department, are paid for from revenue generated from the collection of motor vehicle license registration fees and state fuel taxes.
For more information, please contact the Office of the Fulton County Engineer at 419-335-3816 or visit the website at www.fultoncountyoh.com/engineer.